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Recent News

Design Rights, Aldi and intellectual property law

Litigation

The lowdown

Aldi has become the latest company to fall victim to allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights. In what is truly set to be a David vs Goliath – esque battle, BabaBing, the small private limited company is now taking legal action against the multinational corporation.

Allegations

Aldi is well known for its cheaper, basic – “like brand” products which enjoy so much success in national and international markets. However, this can be a dangerous tactic as Alid’s own brand products tend to look very similar to other established brands. In this particular case, Nick Robinson, managing technical director at BabaBing has claimed that Aldi have “blatantly” copied its baby changing bag. The Aldi counterpart, retailing at £17.99 – a fraction of the £49,99 alterative – is alleged to have an identical size and shape, with similar design features.

BabaBing allege that Aldi’s actions are a typical example of a large corporation using its market share and resources to take advantage of a smaller business. Aldi claim that similar bags have are already on the market, and in an attempt to save face – without admitting liability – have stopped selling the bag.

“Holders of intellectual property rights have the exclusive right to prevent the imitation of products, and restrict the use and distribution of the protected product.”

The law

There are many forms of intellectual property protections, and It can often be confusing to determine which aspect of intellectual property law covers a potential breach. The main protections are:
  • Copyright
  • Trademarks
  • Patents
  • Confidential information
  • Design rights
– Bingo! Design rights cover the appearance of the whole or part of a product and can be unregistered or registered. In particular, they protect package and industrial designs. Unregistered design rights are automatically granted if the product meets certain criteria. However, it may prove costly and time consuming for BabaBing to prove the existence of the criteria if a legal battle does ensue.

Holders of intellectual property rights have the exclusive right to prevent the imitation of products, and restrict the use and distribution of the protected product.

We act for a wide range of businesses on intellectual property right issues and would welcome the opportunity to discuss any design or other intellectual property issues that you may have.